On Monday, the Lahore High Court (LHC) declared two-finger and hymen tests of rape survivors as “illegal” and “unconstitutional.” It also gave directives to the provincial government to formulate appropriate medico-legal protocols, guidelines, and standard operating procedures in compliance with international practice “that organize and manage sensitively the care of victims of sexual violence.”
“This includes regular training and awareness programs so that all stakeholders understand that virginity tests have no clinical or forensic value,” it added.
In a historic judgement by LHC the two-finger test and the hymen test have been declared unscientific, discriminatory, illegal & unconstitutional with direction to provincial govt to devise appropriate medico-legal protocols… pic.twitter.com/qpM2I45nsO— Women In Law (@WomenInLawPk) January 4, 2021
Lahore High Court (LHC) judge Justice Ayesha A Malik announced the verdict. The petition in question aimed to challenge the virginity tests conducted on rape survivors.
The verdict maintained that the testing methods to declare the virginity of a female victim subject to sexual abuse and rape were “unscientific having no medical basis, therefore it has no forensic value in cases of sexual violence.”
The verdict further read that these tests offend “the personal dignity of the female victim and therefore is against the right to life and right to dignity enshrined in Article 9 and 14 of the Constitution.”
A brief statement/summary of the two petitions and judgment by the LHC pic.twitter.com/dKOhfy8I07
— Farieha Aziz (@FariehaAziz) January 4, 2021
The judgment also highlighted that tests of such nature go against Article 25 of the Constitution, as they are discriminatory against the female victim for only being conducted against a specific gender.
“Consequently to the extent that the 2020 guidelines, SOPs, and the 2015 instructions that mandate the two-finger test or the hymen test for the purposes of ascertaining the virginity of the victim have been declared illegal and against the Constitution and the Federation and Provincial Government should take necessary steps to ensure that virginity tests are not carried out in a medico-legal examination of the victims of rape and sexual abuse.”
Virginity tests such as the two-finger and hymen tests are methods to determine whether a female has ever been involved in sexual intercourse.
The Federal Ministry of Law had also opposed the virginity test back in October 2020. The test violates Article 14 of the Constitution, it maintained.